Faculty

  • Profile Image
  • Martha Helfer
  • Department Chair
  • Professor
  • Degree: Ph.D., Stanford University
  • Email: mhelfer@rutgers.edu
  • Office: 15 Seminary Place, Room 4130
  • Campus: College Avenue Campus
  • Phone: 848-932-4094
  • Office Hours:

    Mondays 1:30pm | Wednesdays 1:30pm

  • Zoom Link for Office Hours:

    RUZoom-Helfer

Research Interests:

Literature of the Age of Goethe, Romantic aesthetic and philosophical theories, German intellectual history (18th-20th-century), questions of gender and the construction of subjectivity, philosophical approaches to literature, German Jewish Studies.

 Honors/Awards:

  • School of Arts and Sciences Award for Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Education (2019)
  • Excellence in Graduate Teaching Award (Rutgers Graduate School New Brunswick, 2007-2008)
  • Max Kade Award for Best Article in German Quarterly (1998)

Publications:

Books:

Edited Volumes:

Nexus 5, Essays in German Jewish Studies (series co-founder, with William Collins Donahue), Moments of Enlightenment: In Memory of Jonathan M. Hess, guest edited by Ruth von Bernuth and Eric Downing (Camden House, 2021)

Nexus Four: Essays in German Jewish Studies, co-editor, with William Collins Donahue (Camden House, 2018).

Nexus Three: Essays in German Jewish Studies, co-editor, with William Collins Donahue (Camden House, 2017).

Nexus Two: Essays in German Jewish Studies, co-editor, with William Collins Donahue (Camden House, 2014).

Nexus One: Essays in German Jewish Studies, co-editor, with William Collins Donahue (Camden House, 2011).

Commitment and Compassion: Essays on Georg Büchner, co-editor, with Patrick Fortmann, Rodopi, 2012. (please click here for publishing information)

Rereading Romanticism, Amsterdam/Atlanta: Rodopi, 2000. 

Articles (selected):

"Fairy Tales and the Transmission of Prejudice," Die Unterrichtspraxis/Teaching German 54.1 (2021): 74-87.

"Maurice Sendak's Dear Mili: A Contrapuntal Elegy," in Nexus 5, Moments of Enlightenment, ed. Ruth von Bernuth and Eric Downing (Camden House, 2021), 21-40.

"Arachnid Aesthetics: Gotthelf's Die schwarze Spinne," MLN 131 (2016): 662-678.

"Eckbert's Secret," Deutsche Vierteljahrsschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Geistegeschichte 90.2 (2016): 229-48.

"'Ein heimlich Ding': The Self as Object in Annette von Droste-Hülshoff," in Goethe's Ghosts, ed. Simon Richter and Richard Block, Camden House, 2013. Pp. 276-289.

“‘Ein heimlich Ding’: Das Selbst als Objekt bei Annette von Droste-Hülshoff,” in Redigierte Tradition, ed. Claudia Liebrand, Irmtraud Hnilica, and Thomas Wortmann (Schöningh, 2010), 271-279.

“The Fairy Tale Jew,” Neue Lektüren/New Readings, ed. Gerhard Knapp and Norbert Eke, Amsterdamer Beiträge zur neueren Germanistik 67 (Rodopi: 2009), 31-42.

“Die Judenbuche” [The Jews’ Beech Tree]. The Literary Encyclopedia, 23 Aug. 2006. <http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=16918>.

“Annette von Droste-Hülshoff,” The Literary Encyclopedia, 12 July 2006, <http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=5444> .

“The Male Muses of Romanticism: The Poetics of Gender in Novalis, E.T.A. Hoffmann, and Eichendorff.” The German Quarterly 78.3 (2005): 299-319.

“Natural Anti-Semitism: Stifter’s Abdias,” Deutsche Vierteljahrsschrift 78.2 (2004): 261-86. [Reprinted in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism, Volume 198 (Gale, Cengage Learning 2008): 306-320.]

“Romanticism and Gender Studies,” Camden House History of German Literature: The Literature of German Romanticism, ed. Dennis Mahoney (Camden House 2004): 229-49.

“Wilhelm Meister’s Women,” Goethe Yearbook 11 (2002): 229-54.

“Framing the Jew: Grillparzer’s Die Jüdin von Toledo.” German Quarterly 75.2 (2002): 160-80.

“‘Wer wagt es, eitlen Blutes Drang zu messen?’: Reading Blood in Annette von Droste-Hülshoff’s Die Judenbuche.” German Quarterly 71.3 (1998): 228-253. Best Article Award, German Quarterly 1998 (Max Kade Prize).

“Dorothea Schlegel’s Florentin: Constructing a Feminist Romantic Aesthetic.” German Quarterly 69.4 (1996): 144-160.

“‘Confessions of an Improper Man’: Friedrich Schlegel’s Lucinde,” Outing Goethe and His Age, ed. Alice Kuzniar (Stanford: Stanford UP, 1996): 174-193.

Professional Activities:

Current:

Co-editor, Nexus: Essays in German Jewish Studies
Co-founder and co-organizer, German and Jewish Studies Workshop
Board of Directors, American Friends of Marbach
Editorial Board, Goethe Society of North America book series at Bucknell University Press

Past:

Program Committee, German Studies Association
Co-editor, Amsterdamer Beiträge zur neueren Germanistik
Executive Committee, MLA, Division on 18th - and early 19th -Century German Literature
Executive Committee, German Studies Association
Executive Committee, Goethe Society of North America
Editorial Board, German Studies Review
Book Review Editor, Goethe Yearbook
Secretary-Treasurer, Goethe Society of North America
Editorial Board, Athenäum

 

Recent Courses Taught at Rutgers:

Graduate:

Enchanted Worlds
History of Literary Criticism-The Romantic Period
Romanticism and Gender Studies

Undergraduate:

Fairy Tales Then and Now
Introduction to German Studies
Enchanted Worlds
Civilization and Its Discontents (Honors)